Learning made easy

Just about everyone has to put their mind to it and learn something sometime. Work, school, hobby, how to format a Facebook page — there just seems to always be something that requires us to learn something else.

That’s why none of us ever really stops being students. Just the other day I was talking to a seventy-something grandmother who was trying to improve her tweeting skills. She asked me if I knew any way to learn with the speed she did when she was younger.

I told her I didn’t know of anything that would be like the fountain of youth, but lots of people have found that self hypnosis helps a lot.

Students of all ages can get a lot of benefit from self hypnosis. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that nothing will turn you into a genius who excels without effort. And you can forget those myths about people who have photographic memories. You know, those people who it is claimed can look at something once and then never forget it. They don’t exist. if they did, you’d know one or two of them by now.

But even though there is no such thing as a perfect, photographic memory, the proper use of self hypnosis can make studying easier, faster, and more fun and interesting.

This material on the use of self hypnosis was developed in the trenches, as they say. That is, I taught it to college students at every level. Freshmen, grad students, other faculty and their families. And public school teachers. Though never to students younger than college age, I know a thing or two about them, too. Their parents and teachers (who were my students) told me lots of stories. It was clear that self hypnosis worked well for even some grade school students.

It is certainly within the grasp of any reasonably mature high school student or above. College students have found self hypnosis really improves their studying and test-taking. Older adults find it often makes a big difference. Especially when they have to study for work-related training. Like taking career related tests for advancement.

If you are new to this subject you may be surprised to learn that self hypnosis itself is not what does the trick. What does most of the work is suggestion. Self hypnosis is practiced to heighten receptivity to suggestions. That is, the better your hypnotic state, the more effective are your suggestion. And self hypnosis is a skill that, like any skill, can be learned in improved on with practice.

Learning improvement with hypnosis is fueled by suggestion.

Suggestions, then, are the instructions that make things better. To be quickly and deeply effective, they should be formulated on the basis of information from autoquestioning. I’ve covered the how-to details for these elsewhere. (Particularly autoquestioning, developing self hypnotic states, and suggestion formulation and application. Please see References at the bottom of this article.)

Following are some of the ways in which self hypnosis can be applied to study and learning at any level.

Concentration: Focus and Attention Span in Learning

It is claimed that the ability to focus attention and hold it on a subject is shortened by television viewing. That has been partially supported by research. Fortunately we know that concentration can be improved through practice. Especially with self hypnosis.

So practice alone does help. But people of all ages have said they got the best improvement from using self hypnotic suggestions. It makes it easier to block out distractions. You can ignore those silly, interruptive thoughts longer. And there is a sense that time has gone by quickly.

That in itself is worth a million bucks when you have to study something that’s just not all that interesting.

My research has pinpointed focus and attention as the single most needed area of improvement by almost everyone. It should go without saying that when concentration is improved, so is studying and learning.

Interest and Learning

Interest in a subject doesn’t have to be there in the beginning. You can make yourself more interested in something. That makes studying a heck of a lot easier. Here are a few tips for doing that, for generating more interest in something:

  • How is the subject related to interests you already have.
  • How will knowing about this subject help you get things you want (good job or satisfying career, money, attention, mate, etc.).
  • What are the negative attributes related to not knowing about the subject at hand (flunk a test, miss out on a promotion, be thought of as ignorant, etc.).

Just thinking about it, and trying to figure out reasons to be interested, will help. More attention to a subject makes it more interesting. As it gets more interesting, it gets easier and easier to concentrate on it.

Best of all, following these tips will help you formulate great hypnotic suggestions.

Follow these tips and you will find new ways the subject is important to you. From there you can formulate dynamite suggestions that make studying easier, faster, and more effective.

By “effective” I mean you will get two additional benefits.

  1. You will discover (or not miss) the kinds of details and things that you might otherwise have missed.
  2. You will remember more. Nothing is more discouraging than spending a lot of time studying something only to discover later you’ve forgotten it.

Mental Blocks to Learning

Almost everyone suffers from some types of mental blocks. Sometimes people will even avoid a subject altogether because they are “just not good” at whatever it is.

“I’m no good at math” is a common complaint. Like “I just can’t spell.” And while it is true that different subjects are better or worse for different people, much of the time these problem areas are nothing more than mental blocks.

A little clever autoquestioning will determine the existence of a block rather quickly and suggestions can then be used to take it out of the picture. It is truly heartwarming to see someone blossom in a subject. Sometimes they amaze themselves. They excel at something they thought was forever beyond their mental reach.

The before-and-after contrast in this can be awesome. As completely and totally debilitating as mental blocks can be, they are often cleared up fairly easily. Especially with good hypnotic suggestions.

Public Speaking

You may not be taking a course in public speaking. Perhaps you never have to give formal speeches. But you do need sometimes to speak up in a group or at a meeting at work. Speaking up anytime — in a class, meeting, or social gathering — is an important part of living, working and learning. But fear may keep you from jumping in or even simply asking a question. This can be a serious handicap to a career or an education.

Public speaking, or just speaking up in public, frightens most people. It has been said people are more afraid of giving a speech of death itself. Whether that is true or not, it is true that the fear is real. Sometimes to the point of being debilitating.

Here again, self hypnotic suggestion comes to the rescue. Learn to formulate and apply the right kinds of suggestions. Then in a relatively short time you will be able to speak in the kinds of situations that used to terrify you. You may not reach a point where you can deliver a speech to an audience of thousands without trepidation. But there is a lot of difference between being mildly nervous and scared to death.

Sleep Assisted Learning

Okay, let’s get something clear up front: I’m talking about sleep assisted learning, not Sleep Learning.

Sleep Learning has been researched up the gazoo and all the legitimate, scientifically valid reports concur: There is no such thing as Sleep Learning! It doesn’t work.

Forget about sleeping sleeping with a textbook under your pillow to make you a genius. Forget about playing audio tapes while asleep and being able to recite it all the next morning. No these or any other form of voodoo practice is going to magically implant volumes of information in your noggin.

But sleep assisted learning does exist and there is nothing magical about it. First you have to subject yourself, consciously (while awake), to the information you want to learn. Then you can use self hypnotic suggestions to do the following (these kinds of suggestion are technically called post-hypnotic suggestions):

  • Arrange, order, or otherwise “index” the information, while you sleep, in a way that is meaningful and useful to you. Your mind has its own way of dealing with information. You are asking your subconscious mind to help arrange and store the fresh new information in the best way for you.
  • Enhance connections between the new information and what you already knew. You are instructing your subconscious mind to do this in ways that will make the new information easier to remember. Because if you can’t remember it, you didn’t learn it.
  • Internalize the new information as much as possible to make it “yours.” You are instructing your subconscious mind to take ownership of the new information. Tie it all together. Make it comprehensible (i.e., make it something you can consciously understand). And make it easy to dredge up (remember it) when you want to.

From experience I know I need to repeat myself at this point: There is a huge difference between sleep assisted learning and Sleep Learning. Sleep Learning is bogus. It keeps getting attention because of its siren call of something-for-nothing. The claim is that you can get the information inside your head—”learn” it—with little or no effort.

That would be the intellectual equivalent of a free lunch. Forget it.

Sleep Learning claims to be a way to unconsciously obtain information (i.e., without effort). Sleep assisted learning helps you process information after you have consciously (awake) “obtained” it (read or heard it).

References . . .

Charles E. Henderson, Ph.D.

By the way . . .

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